Thursday, February 18, 2010

Dose Health Care Care?

Does Health Care Care?

I was going to write about immigration and how discrimination might affect it but, after some searching, I could not find any current articles on the subject. In the process of looking I did find an article that is relevant to the current debate of public health care and discrimination. With new technologies being developed, more is being learned about genetics. We are becoming better at being able to look at a person’s genes and understand the information that is carried within the genes. Specific genes that attribute to health problems can be pinpointed and found in a person before any physical effects are visible. How we use this information is what is important. There are already several cases in which health insurance companies have discriminated against people because of a specific gene they have. If this becomes a more consistent policy, it is possible that a whole race of people might have a hard time getting health insurance or even a job simply because they carry a gene that creates a higher risk of a certain health issue. This has caused several people to even withhold information or refuse tests that could help their health because the fear of what their insurance companies and employers will do. “The first, much-anticipated benefits of personalized medicine are being lost or diluted for many Americans who are too afraid that genetic information may be used against them to take advantage of its growing availability” (Harmon, 2008). So even if a public health care system is created, this issue may arise as another obstacle to get around. Technology can be useful but all societal factors must be considered before full implementation of the technology is carried out. It would be unfair to deny a person health coverage simply because they may have a genetic predisposition for certain diseases. If we are attempting to give equal health care to all people, separating and labeling groups of people due to their genetics will only do the opposite and destroy any chance of equality. I have a feeling that genetic tests will be used as just another way to justify the oppression already in place throughout society. These are some of the factors to consider when looking at social policy and understanding the ways it can be used for good and bad.

Harmon, A.(2008, February 24). Insurance Fears Lead Many to Shun DNA Tests. The New Times. Retrieved February 13, 2010, From en=b9977c2d397372ee&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss&pagewanted=a ll

1 comment:

  1. This is a really upsetting issue. I have just recently learned about the health disparities in our country and using genetic technology seems like it will only encourage this. It seems like our society always has to put people into categories. Insurance companies makes it very difficult to be insured with all of their qualifications a person has to fit. What do you think the solution to this issue is? Should insurance companies still cover a person with genetic predisposition when they know it is going to cost their company money?